The first house my husband or I owned is the one we live in now. It’s a very old house, although we did buy new appliances when he bought it (a couple months before we were engaged). Some of you know that it was originally a church. It is a unique place, and when Matt started remodeling the basement, he discovered that nothing was square. I am not a builder, but I can see where the walls and floor not being at right angles would make it challenging to add trim and many of the other parts of remodeling.
We soon learned the rule of old homes: everything breaks. And good luck figuring out how to fix it. I am very glad that I married a man who is smart and talented at fixing things. He is good at finding helpful videos on YouTube, too. I’m sure he has saved us thousands of dollars with the appliances he has fixed and repairs to our cars and house. It certainly feels like we just move from one broken thing to the next. When Matt came home from the hospital this summer, our dryer broke within a week or two. After that, my car has been struggling with one issue or another. Now our washer is broken, but we are focusing on the car for the moment. I don’t even want to guess what will be next. I don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow; today has enough trouble of it’s own. 😉
Broken things are stressful. I feel the same way about broken relationships. There is tension with a friend or family member. Someone at work gives the cold shoulder. I need to talk to my husband and I keep putting it off. If something isn’t right in a relationship, I feel it all day long. I can’t relax. I’m on the verge of tears. It is always in the back of my mind and often, it’s right in the front.
My conflict style is none. No conflict. Ever. That would be great. It’s not a healthy style, unfortunately, so I have had to work on honest communication even when it is uncomfortable. The thing that gets me is these two verses here:
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV
We hear the first verse regularly, but the second one struck me. “Give no opportunity to the devil.” I’m guessing most of you reading this don’t want the devil to have a way into your relationships. When I avoid conflict, I give space for my mind to roam, and it absolutely lets the devil get in and tempt me with worst case scenarios and worries about what might happen in the meantime. My choice to honestly face conflict is one way I can smack the devil in the face, giving him no room in my relationship to taunt and tempt me or the other person.
I am still working on this, but it motivates me to be more honest in my relationships when I think of it as a chance to push the devil out of the way. Let’s be a pain in the devil’s neck today!